National Physical Laboratory

Wavefront Sensing

Wavefront Sensing

Wavefront sensors of the Shack-Hartmann (SH) type have become commercially available from a number of manufacturers due to their large dynamic range and wide ranging usability. NPL has looked to address the need for consistent measurements over a range of instruments and measurement situations.

NPL are currently able to make wavefront sensing measurements that cover the visible and infra-red wavelengths using SH wavefront sensors.

We have also developed the ability to provide traceability for the determination of laser beam propagation parameters.

Application Areas

Improvement of optical imaging and freespace communications; characterisation of imaging devices, telescopes. If used as part of an adaptive optics loop, enhancement of freespace optical communications systems by increasing the operational distance. To service growing demand for high-quality optics in digital cameras, cellular telephones, and other consumer goods, precision wavefront analysis has become indispensable as a quality control tool for manufacturers. Other products reliant on high quality optics testing include high definition DVD systems, liquid lenses and lighting systems.

Traceable Measurements

NPL has developed a series of artefacts that give prescribed values of aberration that are traceable to primary standards. These include:

  • Wavefront radius of curvature
  • Tilt
  • Spherical aberration
  • Astigmatism
Last Updated: 10 Nov 2016
Created: 23 Jul 2007

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